Organic cation transporter-mediated ergothioneine uptake in mouse neural progenitor cells suppresses proliferation and promotes differentiation into neurons.PLoS One. 2014; 9(2):e89434.Plos
The aim of the present study is to clarify the functional expression and physiological role in neural progenitor cells (NPCs) of carnitine/organic cation transporter OCTN1/SLC22A4, which accepts the naturally occurring food-derived antioxidant ergothioneine (ERGO) as a substrate in vivo. Real-time PCR analysis revealed that mRNA expression of OCTN1 was much higher than that of other organic cation transporters in mouse cultured cortical NPCs. Immunocytochemical analysis showed colocalization of OCTN1 with the NPC marker nestin in cultured NPCs and mouse embryonic carcinoma P19 cells differentiated into neural progenitor-like cells (P19-NPCs). These cells exhibited time-dependent [(3)H]ERGO uptake. These results demonstrate that OCTN1 is functionally expressed in murine NPCs. Cultured NPCs and P19-NPCs formed neurospheres from clusters of proliferating cells in a culture time-dependent manner. Exposure of cultured NPCs to ERGO or other antioxidants (edaravone and ascorbic acid) led to a significant decrease in the area of neurospheres with concomitant elimination of intracellular reactive oxygen species. Transfection of P19-NPCs with small interfering RNA for OCTN1 markedly promoted formation of neurospheres with a concomitant decrease of [(3)H]ERGO uptake. On the other hand, exposure of cultured NPCs to ERGO markedly increased the number of cells immunoreactive for the neuronal marker βIII-tubulin, but decreased the number immunoreactive for the astroglial marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), with concomitant up-regulation of neuronal differentiation activator gene Math1. Interestingly, edaravone and ascorbic acid did not affect such differentiation of NPCs, in contrast to the case of proliferation. Knockdown of OCTN1 increased the number of cells immunoreactive for GFAP, but decreased the number immunoreactive for βIII-tubulin, with concomitant down-regulation of Math1 in P19-NPCs. Thus, OCTN1-mediated uptake of ERGO in NPCs inhibits cellular proliferation via regulation of oxidative stress, and also promotes cellular differentiation by modulating the expression of basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors via an unidentified mechanism different from antioxidant action.